Republican candidate for City Council Bob Wood called for a “reset” to City Hall on Thursday night before a packed courtyard at .
“We all love this city, its neighborhoods, its diversity… its history… its educated community. … We rally around issues that are important to us,” he said, adding that there’s been enough of city planning that “makes us not neighbors but enemies.”
Wood, a graduate of West Point and a retired military leader who holds an economics degree, said he has worked on putting communities together in Bosnia, Germany and other areas and it can be done in Alexandria.
“We see plans without citizen engagement and analysis,” he said. “Why are we rushing to failure?”
He cited the installation of the controversial BRAC-133 complex, which he referred to as "Mount Wastemore," and called it a “monument to lousy planning” that is exacerbating already complex traffic problems. Wood said the new bus lines to the complex out of King Street Metro would only further clog up the area.
Wood reiterated throughout his remarks to the crowd, which included Councilmembers Frank Fannon and Alicia Hughes as well as mayoral aspirant Andrew Macdonald, that the city needs stronger leaders who can give proper guidance and direction to staff.
Former Vice Mayor Bill Cleveland, who is also a veteran, at the event said he’s a supporter because Wood “knows how to take and give orders and he thinks about the little guy—the people who are on the line.”
Karen Byers of Old Town who identified herself as a “conservative,” said there needs to be more balance on council.
Councilman Fannon said he’s excited to see Wood’s entry into the race. “Voters want options and citizens will have quality options” to choose from in the General Election in November, he said.
Jason Howell, who is running as an independent to unseat Rep. Jim Moran in the 8th congressional district of Virginia, said he admires Wood because he brings to the table “experience from his life that is not just political… and he understands the importance of creating relationships."
“I’m for anyone who is excited for progress,” Howell said.
West End Alexandrian John Ray said he is on board with Wood after hearing of Wood’s concerns over BRAC and the Beauregard corridor.
The scene was bespeckled with stickers, magnets, posters, yard signs and other campaign paraphernalia sporting Wood’s slogan: “Reset City Hall,” which Wood explained stands for Respect, Excellence, Service, Economy and Trust.